New Trend for '99???

Ok guys, lots of unrealistic predicitions.

Fisrt the liner lock is not going to decline. It will improve and continue to be the main lock used on folding knives.

Second, do not look for an increase in use of exotic steels. Why, cost and time. Many makers can work exotic steels, but the extra $80 to $120 for the blade will keep 90% of knife buyers from purchasing these knives.

ATS-34 is still king, dont get me wrong, its not my favorite either. BG-42 will be slow to evolve mostly due to availability. Until Latrobe ( the primary producer of BG-42 in the US) starts to carry 1/8" stock as a standard item makers will be slow to use it.
But make no mistake BG-42 is going to replace ATS-34. Also, dont forget, alot of makers have a pretty good supply of ATS-34 on hand. They are going to use this up before they switch.

Third, bead blast blades are not going anywhere, why, this is an efficient way of finishing blades. Dont like bead blasted blades, order your knife with a satin finish.

The top three knives to look for in 99 are:

Tactical Fixed Blades. Check out the cover of the issue of Tactical Knives that comes out in February. The LDC F5 series will be on the cover!

Damascus Folders, Mosiac steel, gold pins and screws, pearl, Ivory and other natural materials for the handle and yes they will have liner locks, but no clips! Price range $700 -$1,500

Tactical Custom Double Action and Single Action autos. Price range of $550 - $700.

Tactical Folders will continue to be hot as ever.

The custom knife market is a slow moving market. This is due in large part to the amount of lead time the magazines need. For instance the things you read in Tactical Knives generally were submitted 4 - 6 months before. This is the reality of a magazine that comes out every other month. Also, problems with materials as the aforementioned BG-42. It took a couple of years for titanium and carbon fiber to become the "Standard" materials used in tactical knives.

Those of you who want exotic materials and differnt locks are on the forward edge. The way to get the makers to that edge with you is give them your orders.

The custom knife market is experiencing a "changing of the guard". The makers who started and made custom knives what they are today are staring retirement in the face. The next generation will be the ones to continue to push the envelope utilizing some of the ideas you all have mentioned.

Additionally, custom knives are entering into a renissance period, never has there been so many different makers with such a diverse back grounds making knives.

It is a wonderful time to be a custom knife buyer/collector/user!

Les Robertson
Robertson's Custom Cutlery

More innovation and some gimmickry. Different types of openers.

Also, more smaller, gentlemen's folders.

[This message has been edited by FULCRUM (edited 09 January 1999).]
AT --

It *is* possible to make a good secure liner lock. And you're right, I probably should be blaming the makers and not the lock format. It's the maker who has the choice of testing and fixing the lock before he puts the knife to market.

I know that you know how to test a liner lock, and from what I hear you know how to fix them as well. What I don't know is if the majority of knifemakers do either of those well. Just walking around a show, I pick up plenty of knives with locks that obviously have problems. Well, "buyer beware" and all that, but it chaps my hide that a guy asking $300+ for a knife doesn't even QA the lock. More importantly, many knifemakers don't quite know how to fix their locks. I've sent knives off to makers, only to get a knife back that isn't quite fixed, or to find that the lock now jams so firmly into the blade that I can barely unlock it with two hands. I know a guy who had to send his knife back to a VERY big-name maker 3 times before the lock would finally hold, and now the knife barely unlocks.

Anyway, I've become the poster boy for bad liner locks, so many people email me their bad experiences or talk to me at shows about them. I've had a very big-name dealer tell me he agrees with me, but could never say so in public, as his business depends on liner lock sales. I've had a maker tell me about walking around a show, trying out locks and shaking his head. Just to let you know where I'm coming from.

Anyway, you're right that perhaps I should be more vocal in blaming the makers rather than the lock. Frankly, I think it's so bad that the Knifemaker's Guild should publish guidelines for their members on how to test a lock, and maybe have some of the better liner lock makers provide tips on tweaking the lock to perfection.

I don't want to be unfair to makers who are making good liner locks, but I also have seen too much to not say anything at all. What do you think? Have I been unfair somewhere?

Nobody want to look the fool. Everybody does the best they can. If they knew better, they'd do better. Teaching and learning is always better then attacking and defending, perhaps?
Joe, I'm not sure I would go so far to say you have been unfair. It would also rot my ass to pay $400.00 for *any* knife that was unsafe.

But blaming a style of lock, instead of the maker is similar to(IMO)blaming guns for crime.

The best way to get a maker to become better, is hit him/her in the pocket book. That will get their attention.

Win's hopeful blade trends:

1.) Less bead-blasting (EVERYBODY'S getting tired of it, I think).
2.) The continuing emergence into the mainstream of steels like BG-42 and the CPM family (little by little).
3.) More innovative lock designs (what will they think of next?).
4.) The return of tip-down clips (PLEASE! This one can't come too soon).
5.) More custom collaborations (custom design and quality with production price and availability? I'll take that any day!).
6.) More short (say, under 5") "tactical" fixed blade knives with kydex carry systems (fixed blades are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve).
7.) Neck knives with longer blades (It's hanging round your neck readily accessible, but what the heck good is it if it's too short to be useful?).
8.) More non-ferrous/non-magnetic knives (for all the metal detector busters out there).

Well, a guy can hope


Knife lover, Philosopher, Humanitarian, and All-around nice guy
(all right, so I'm just a knife lover)
Win -
(4) most knife buyers prefer tip up carry (I'm with you on tip down).
(7) City River Knives makes Kydex neck sheaths for light weight Clipits. Convenient, quick and large enough. Nicely made too.
(8) Occassionaly body searches occur where there are metal detectors. How would you explain trying to "sneak" a non metal knife into a place where "they" do not want you to have a knife?
Some thoughts to share.